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Old 06-02-2014, 02:53 PM   #1
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Narrow county secondary roads

In our attempt to enjoy life on the backroads, we find many are dangerously too narrow. In our recent travel to Smith Mtn Lake State Park, we traveled on several county roads of 14 foot unmarked widths. These roads had switchbacks, sharp loops, and hairpin curves for white knuckle driving. We prayed to not meet another vehicle in the blind curves. There were no shoulders either. Of course our Rand McNally GPS was no help and said this was the correct route. Do others get into these dicey situations driving? I couldn't believe they were even 14 feet wide! I am 8 feet wide, plus mirrors, plus towing a HHR.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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But if you had been able to look around you would have seen the most beautiful scenery in Va. I agree the roads are narrow but did you also notice the traffic was not bumper to bumper?
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:23 PM   #3
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We're in NoVA and have the same sort of roads in places up here. Found out a long time ago that VDOT stops painting roads that aren't a full two lanes wide (16'?). They only put side stripes on roads that are wider than two lanes to mark lane edges. I've come to use this as an indicator of how much room I've got and try to avoid them when towing if possible. Also, if you've noticed, even on main highways there won't be but a few inches of paved shoulder (unlike a lot of other states) and most times there isn't any usable shoulder after that either.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:29 AM   #4
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Yes, the scenery is beautiful! That is why we love state parks and most of the scenic byways, but not the super narrow roads. Even worse is when you think it couldn't get any more narrow, up pops a sign stating "Narrow Bridge" that is 10 feet wide. Then there are the low tree branches! Always something.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:13 PM   #5
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One answer, Mountain Directory.

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Old 06-03-2014, 01:08 PM   #6
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Our MH is 8'6" wide plus mirrors and I much prefer the narrow country lanes. Just need to slow down and practice your backing-up skills.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:21 PM   #7
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My problem is more with the trees. They don't keep them trimmed and they are often too low or encroach on the travel lanes. Good way to scratch up a nice paint job.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:25 PM   #8
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We also love the secondary 2 lane highways. You see so much of the "real" America that way. We love to travel slowly, around 225 miles a day, and enjoy it. We only ran into a problem once, when we took our 38' 5th wheel on Hwy 1 north of San Francisco (after we towed it through San Francisco traffic). It was our 1st year of rv'ing and I didn't do enough research on that road. Never again, too many 1 finger salutes and tight switchbacks. Now, I use every option available to me, Mountain Directory and even the state transportation websites for info. I don't spend a lot of time researching but do look to make sure we can pull our 19k beast where we want to go.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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OK, what is mountain directory? Is it regionial, national, etc?

Tony Lee, we are unable to back up while towing, as stated! Yes we do slow down, both for safety and due to hills and curves. Posted speed limits were 25, but no way for us while towing. We were lucky to do 15 mph in some places. Used tow/haul heavily. We thought we would pass ourselves a few times where the curves were U-turns up or down hill.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:28 AM   #10
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There is a Mountain Directory West & another for East. It is very useful but doesn't not claim to nor does it have every road.

If the route is questionable, I zoom in with Google Maps/Satellite and look for squiggly lines. Zoom in on those areas and you get a good idea of how many switchbacks and how tight they are. Of course, it helps to do that the night before!
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfoto View Post
Of course our Rand McNally GPS was no help and said this was the correct route. Do others get into these dicey situations driving? I couldn't believe they were even 14 feet wide! I am 8 feet wide, plus mirrors, plus towing a HHR.
The RM GPS and other RV/Trucker style GPS units can only make recommendations based on government jurisdiction supplied road and engineering data. If there is no "recorded/posted" weight restriction, width restriction, hazmat restriction, or height restriction, the GPS has no reason not to use the route for your RV.

In many cases you can use these roads without a problem. Other times you best stay off of them, but you really can't put that decision making responsibility on the GPS. There are Interstates in the US that demand caution and respect from the RV operator, and secondary roads are in fact secondary roads for a reason.

One rule of thumb is to follow the tractor trailers, but I've seen more than one of those who wished he was on a different road too...

Over hanging trees is a problem in many parts of the country. Often the only tree trimming is done by the big trucks that travel the road...
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:13 PM   #12
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Our Rand McNally GPS consistently routes us down roads that are not fit for RVs or TTs. Something our Garmin has never tried and it does not know we are towing a trailer. That is why our RN GPS is headed for the dumpster
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:45 AM   #13
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In the preference section you can change the types of roads you want to travel on. However if you destination is down a narrow road it will still have to take you that way. At least you don't have a Garmin RV GPS, that one likes to take you down 4X4 dirt roads and thinks railroad tracks are an appropriate way to go before it turns you onto a one way street going the wrong way

Bottom line is to never trust a GPS solely, it's only a tool. Have it draw out your route and then double check it with google maps and if necessary google earth.
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